It’s Race Day for the 2021 Indianapolis 500

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Good morning from a chilly and still dark (but dry) Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was 44° driving in this morning. Some are comparing this to Race Day in 1992. I was here that day, and I don’t think it’s going to be near that bad. For one thing, the sun never came out that cold and windy day. I’m not sure the temperature ever got above 55° that day.

The forecast for today calls for sunny skies and a high of around 70°. Of course, it won’t be that warm at the drop of the green flag – but I’m thinking it will be very present at about the midway point. Today reminds me more of 2013. In fact, I’m wearing the same IMS polar fleece today that I wore that chilly day also. Will that bring another Tony Kanaan win, like it did that year? We’ll see.

Much to Susan’s chagrin, we stuck to our usual Race Morning schedule – which included waking up at 3:30 am. She argued that traffic and parking wouldn’t be near as big a problem with 60% of the people not here today. We made it in OK, but the streets were certainly not deserted at that hour. Still we met my annual goal of being inside the track well before the opening bomb went off at 6:00 am. It was actually 5:20 am. She was not pleased.

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I will also say this…the crowds at our usual dining spots have been bigger than usual. We met my brother and his wife, along with Paul Dalbey at Dawson’s on Friday night. It was loud and rowdy, much more so than I’ve ever seen it. Usually on Race Weekend, it is lively but still rather calm. This was anything but calm, as large groups yelling made it almost impossible to hear people at your own table. The low-key atmosphere has always been the charm of Dawson’s to me. I’m assuming the cold weather and the drawn-out Carb Day led to a lot more alcohol being consumed late in the day by race fans, not just the usual concert-goers. I will assume this was a one-time deal, and that their crowd will get back to normal – like it has been the previous two weekends.

It was the same at Charlie Brown’s on Saturday morning. The crowd was not rowdy, but it was packed. We had to wait about an hour and twenty minutes for a table for four. It was good and worth the wait, but I don’t ever recall waiting anywhere near that long there before.

After Charlie Brown’s, we went to the IMS Museum. Once again, the crowd there was much bigger than what I was expecting. Here is a photo of me, with my middle brother Jack (older than me, but not the oldest), in front of Ol’ Calhoun at the museum yesterday.

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I am curious to see what 40% capacity looks like today. It’s likely to look more full than we think. What a lot of people keep forgetting is that the bulk of the 60% that won’t be here is the infield crowd – those that go to the new Snake Pit or pay General Admission to watch the race from the viewing mounds. I suspect the stands will look a lot more full than we are expecting.

Based on the activity I’m seeing this morning as people make their way into the track, there is already a buzz about the place. There won’t be as many people here as in normal years, but those here are excited to be here. It’s the first time back here in two years for all of us. There is a sense of appreciation among everyone here.

I mentioned Friday that Susan would have a post here yesterday. That didn’t happen. In all honesty, she overdid it on Friday. The hike up to the seats in the B-Penthouse overlooking Turn One about did her in. She’s doing very well, but she is still undergoing radiation treatments – with one more week to go. The radiation zaps her energy, and she doesn’t have her stamina back yet. She rested up most of Saturday, because she knows today will be a long day. But she has some of her own personal thoughts she wants to share with everyone, and is writing her post as I finish this up. She should have it up here by mid-morning, way before the race – so please check out what she has to say.

That’s going to do it for me right now. I am going to go wander about the grounds, while Susan stays warm and types out her post. In the meantime, please follow us on Twitter for comments, photos and videos. Follow me at @Oilpressureblog, and Susan at @MrsOilpressure. Please check back later.

George Phillips

3 Responses to “It’s Race Day for the 2021 Indianapolis 500”

  1. Leslie Bissell Says:

    Thank you for the report George. I really enjoy your early morning report from the speedway and I am looking forward to Susan’s thoughts. Have a wonderful day, both of you!

  2. Brandon Wright Says:

    Gotta take the elevators up to the penthouse seats! That walk up the stairs is brutal. Have a great day kids! I’m about to head into the track now.

  3. Look forward to Susan’s post. Have a great day. Thanks for the updates and photos.

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